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Chippewa Flowage
15,300 acres of premier fishing in Sawyer County.
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
over 92 miles of natural and scenic roverway.
Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area
scenic beauty and wild character in Iron County.
Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area
an island studded reservoir with truly wild flavor.
Wild Rivers
protected free-flowing rivers.
location in Wisconsin
Contact information
For information on the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, contact:
Property Manager
Dept of Natural Resources
5291 N. Statehouse Circle
Mercer, Wisconsin 54547
715-476-7846 (office)
715-614-5120 (cell)

Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters AreaCamping

The Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area offers 66 remote campsites accessible by water only. The family campsites and two of the group sites do not require registration, a fee or a camping permit. Six of the group sites are available by reservation only and require a fee.

campsite B1

campsite B1

Camping is allowed in designated campsites only. Designated sites all have a steel fire ring and an open air pit toilet and are identified with a site number. You MAY NOT establish new campsites or camp at undesignated sites. There is a ten day limit on camping at all campsites on the property. In addition, when you set up camp you must occupy the site the first night and you may not leave it unoccupied for more than one night thereafter (you may not leave unattended camping equipment to "save" a site).

Family campsites

Family campsites

Fifty-eight sites scattered throughout the property are designated family campsites. All are accessible via boat only. These sites are limited to a single camping party only. A single camping party consists of an individual, a family (parents, dependent children, and not more than two guests), or a group not exceeding six unrelated persons. Seventeen of the family campsites include a picnic table as well as the fire ring and open air pit toilet. These sites are designated with a letter "F" as the prefix to the site number.

One of the family sites includes facilities which make it more accessible to persons with physical disabilities. This is site number "A1" on the map above. This site can be reserved by persons with disabilities at no charge by contacting the Mercer Ranger Station (715-476-2240). If not being occupied by a reservation, this campsite is also open for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Forty of the family sites are more rustic and do not include a picnic table. The site numbers for the rustic sites have a letter "R" prefix.

Group campsites

Group Campsites

There are eight group campsites total. All group sites are accessible via boat only.

thumbnail: campground B3 thumbnail: campground B4 thumbnail: campground B5 thumbnail: campground B6 thumbnail: campground B7 thumbnail: campground B8 thumbnail: group campground men's toilet

Two of these (G1 and G2) are on a first come, first served basis (not reservable). These sites include two fire rings, two pit toilets, and a picnic table. These sites accommodate groups larger than what is allowed in family sites; between seven and twenty persons.

Six other group sites (B3 through B8) are available by reservation only from April 15 - October 30. These six sites are divided into two groups of three sites clustered together sharing one toilet building. All of these sites are water access only and each one allows wheelchair access from the water.

These sites accommodate seven to fifteen persons. A picnic table, three benches and a fire-ring also occupy each site. These primitive sites have no running water or garbage disposal available. Please pack your garbage and recyclables out to the boat landing where dumpsters and recycling bins are available.

There is a fee associated with these six sites: $40 per night per site for the general public; $10 per night per site for a Wisconsin nonprofit youth group. Your stay is limited to 10 days. You do not need to check in anywhere but a card with your party's name will be attached to the site post and will indicate your departure date.

Reserve a Group Campsite [exit DNR] online or call 888-947-2757.

More camping

Additional opportunities

Because camping in the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area is first come first serve, there is always the possibility that you will not find an available campsite when you arrive; therefore, you should have a contingency plan.

Camping is available at Lake of the Falls County Park located on the north end of the Flowage off County Highway FF. Smith Rapids Campground, Twin Lakes Campground, and Emily Lake Campground in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest [exit DNR] and Sandy Beach Campground in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest are also nearby.

For information on private campgrounds, resorts, and motels in the area contact:

Mercer Chamber of Commerce [exit DNR]
5150N Hwy 51
Mercer, WI 54547

Turtle-Flambeau Flowage Association [exit DNR]
P O Box 422
Butternut, WI 54514

Camping tips

Things To Remember

  • Because there is no camper registration, you should leave your planned itinerary with friends or family so that you can be located in case of an emergency.
  • It is highly recommended to carry and use a battery-operated weather band radio to receive National Weather Service warnings or tune into WCQM 98.3 FM for local weather warnings. Staff are not on duty 24 hours a day.
  • In case of emergency call 911. You may want to bring a cell phone; however, cell phone coverage can sometimes be unreliable. A public pay phone is available at Springstead Landing.
  • Bringing a GPS unit may be helpful for reporting the location of an emergency or for locating a campsite or boat landing using GPS Coordinates for Boat Landings and Campsites [PDF].
  • Sound carries long distances over water. Please be respectful of others and keep noise to a minimum. You may not operate any sound truck, loudspeaker, generator, chainsaw or other device that produces excessive, loud or unusual noise. Possession or discharge of any type of fireworks is illegal.
  • Bring water for drinking and cooking from home or use the hand pump at Springstread Landing. Consuming water from any lake or stream is not safe unless it has been properly treated.
  • Always store food securely out of the reach of animals. Never bring food into your tent. Problems with bears at campsites have been infrequent. Visits by raccoons and red squirrels are a more common problem and these animals can do a lot of damage. If food is not available, unwanted visits will be minimized.


Garbage & waste

Garbage service is not provided at the campsites. All refuse must be carried out with you. Do not leave items "for the next campers to use"; these things are generally not appreciated by others and tend to detract from the rustic setting.

Dry paper may be burned but do not put plastic, cans, glass or other waste in the fire ring. Please reduce waste by packing supplies in reusable containers.

The open air pit toilets at the campsites rely on composting action to reduce waste volume. Periodically pouring some water into the toilet will promote the composting action. DO NOT put refuse, chemicals, or disposable diapers in the toilets; this will significantly reduce the life span of the toilet and could force closure of the campsite.

Dumpsters and recycling receptacles are provided at Springstead, Fisherman's and Murray's Landings. Please recycle! NOTE: The garbage and recycling receptacles are provided for waste generated on this state property only - you may not dispose of waste from your home or cabin here.


Fires and firewood

Firewood can harbor pests such as gypsy moths, emerald ash borer, and oak wilt that threaten the local forest. New regulations regarding the transport of firewood are aimed at stopping the threat. It is now illegal to bring firewood to this or any other state property from more than 10 miles away. It is also illegal to bring firewood from out of state. The following map link shows the range from which firewood may be transported to the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area.

Range of Allowable Firewood [PDF]

sitting by a campfire
© James Keating

You are allowed to gather wood that is "dead and down" for your fire; however, available dead and down wood is becoming scarce. You should consider purchasing locally harvested firewood to bring to your campsite. There are several local businesses that sell bundled campfire wood.

As added insurance against introducing forest pests, please burn all your firewood; do not leave it for the next camper and do not transport it to other properties.

You MAY NOT cut standing trees whether they are live or dead. Standing dead "snag" trees provide valuable wildlife habitat. You MAY NOT use a chain saw to cut firewood.

Prevent forest fires by confining your campfire to the steel fire ring provided at each campsite. Keep campfires small and burn only wood and clean paper. Make sure your fire is dead out before you leave.



Your pets are welcome to join you when you visit the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area.

On the Hidden Rivers Nature Trail dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 8 feet. In areas where other visitors are present, your pet must be kept under control; you may not allow your pet to interfere in any manner with the enjoyment of the area by others.

Please respect other visitors and clean up after your pet.

Last revised: Friday March 20 2020